As an artist known for his spiritual paintings, Lee Mullican (1919-1998) is more prolific than one might expect. Shatter Special at Equitable Vitrines exhibits a variety of Lee's work made from the 1960s through 1990s. For the first time ever, his largely unknown ceramics, photographic experiments and computer art are exhibited alongside his paintings.
In 1951, Mullican formed the Dynaton Movement along with the surrealists Wolfgang Paalen and Gordon Onslow Ford. They shared a belief in art as a pursuit of self-transcending awareness. Lee developed his ceramics at a studio in Taos, New Mexico after learning from Isamu Noguchi and his sister Ailes Gilmour. You can see his interest in the cosmologies of pre-Columbian artifacts in his early terracotta works made at this time in the 60s.
It's fascinating to see his hand and approach oscillate between form and medium. Certain tools make a cameo in clay and in paint. In the clay, the tools are used more freely- at times as more whispy texture and otherwise as more heavy handed imprints. In paint, he had developed a technique using a palette knife to build up ridges of paint to a striated effect, creating planes of color that hum on the surface. The technique seems more mechanical and meditative, as though he is slowing down the process, allowing for transcendence. In a way, the computer art from the 80s in not much different- he's just using the computer as the tool, allowing color and pattern to work harmoniously on a single plane.
All in all, Shatter Special is a show rich in flavor and not to be missed!
There will be an in-gallery conversation between artist Luchita Mullican and art historian Chris Wiley on November 20th at 6pm. The closing reception for Lee Mullican: Shatter Special will follow the talk with food and refreshments provided by our Venice friends 'Ol Skool BBQ.
Lee Mullican: Shatter Special
9960 S Santa Monica Blvd
Closes November 21, 2015
Open Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6pm